Contemporary Japanese Politics and Public Administration

Koji ONO Professor

Department: School of Law / Graduate School of Law

Class Time: 2011 Fall Monday
Recommended for: First year Law Students

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Course Overview

You will understand, in brief, the history of politics and public administration in Japan after the Second World War. In addition to the video texts and reference works introduced in class, you will deepen your understanding of contemporary Japanese politics by using daily newspapers. Finally, you will gain the ability to independently judge issues of Japanese politics, which is the aim of this course.

Key Features

  1. In 1994, when we began this course for Nagoya University Law students, we planned all the classes and created a textbook accordingly. Its title is "The Turning Points of Japanese Politics, third edition." Therefore, the contents and pace of this course are based on the textbook.
  2. In order to encourage your preparations I will make printed preparation materials for the 2nd to 12th classes and hand them out at the end of each previous class. I encourage students to study the printed preparations and textbook before class. As the lectures are based on the textbook, I introduce the correct answers to the printed preparation sheets during class.
  3. I will collect newspaper clippings about news, and introduce them with short comments in each class. I hope this will make you interested in and understand not only the history of postwar Japanese politics but also the situation of current politics.
  4. Before taking up the main subject, for 5 minutes during each class I will show you a video to help you understand the situation of that time period, in order to increase your motivation to study.
  5. In each class, I give you some materials which are not included in the textbook (such as the "Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972", "The Formal Document of the War's End" and so on). They will help you deepen your understanding.
  6. To encourage you to review classes, you will have three small tests during the semester. I will check your understanding and how much you remember.
  7. In order to move away from a rote-learning style of simple historical facts, I encourage you to hand in reports whose topic is decided by yourself, and which you have studied for independently; these will be assessed and included in your school record. This is a large course with around 200 students. Therefore, in order that your reports are checked properly, I employ a few TAs who are in charge of marking reports to be able to check them seriously. The reports will be returned to you after they are marked and given detailed comments, which allows the students to review the reports they have handed in.
  8. To help you clearly understand the goals of this course, I will hand out a printed paper containing the best reports handed in by the students taking this course the previous year. This stimulates students' desire to study, and helps them realize that students in the same grade as them can write really excellent reports.

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close Syllabus

Course Aims

The object of this course is to understand the outline of the history of Japanese politics and public administration after the Second World War. In order to do this, we will deepen our understanding by referring to documents, videos, teaching materials and daily newspapers. The final goal is to gain the ability to judge for ourselves about Japanese politics.


These will be introduced when needed in the lecture.

Course Schedule

Session Contents
1 Periodizing Japanese political history after World War II
2 Comparison between prewar and postwar Japanese politics
3 The contents and significance of postwar reforms (1): politics
4 The contents and significance of postwar reforms (2): economics
5 Establishment of the Cold War system and the "Reverse Course"
6 Restructuring towards conservative politics
7 Reorganizing conservative camps and the formation of "the 1955 System"
8 The establishment period of "the 1955 System"
9 The stable period of "the 1955 System"
10 The period turmoil of "the 1955 System"
11 The period of transition from "the 1955 System" —part 1: transformative period
12 The period of transition from "the 1955 System" —part 2: restructuring period
13 The period of transition from "the 1955 System" —part 3: collapsing period
14 From the general election of the House of Representatives in 1993 to the Mori Cabinet
15 Significance of the Koizumi government from then to now


I will give supplementary lectures in the event that I cannot hold lectures due to holidays or business trips. I will decide what day I will give it in advance. In addition, the lecture room could be changed on that day.


General Method

In addition to evaluation by the end of term exam, I will assign you three mid-term tests. Each test is worth 10 points, which will be added to your overall grade. I will not tell you beforehand when these tests will take place, so you should do preparation and review as a matter of course. The three middle tests are 30 points (10x3=30) and the term exam is 70 points. If you do not take any of the mid-term tests and you get over 60 points on the term exam, you can still earn a credit. However, we expect that this will be very difficult.

Report Method

Your evaluation will be added to by handing in a report as set out in the syllabus. This is for encouraging "self-learning" by writing a report, but it is not necessary for everyone to do it. This report is worth 30 points altogether and the deadline is 1/17. I will give separate instruction for style and grading criteria. In this case, the term exam points you get will be multiplied by 0.8, so the maximum points will be 56. According to this formula, therefore, the three mid-term tests are worth 30 points (10x3=30), the term exam is 56 points and the report is 30 points, which adds up to 116 points.

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Page last updated October 24, 2011

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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